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Michigan Supreme Court rejects bid to keep Trump off 2024 primary ballot

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The Michigan Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal from a group of state voters challenging the candidacy of former President Donald Trump for the 2024 presidential primary.

The appeal, based on the Constitution’s “insurrection clause,” was denied by the state high court, which declined to review a prior decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals permitting Trump’s inclusion on the Republican primary ballot. The order, lacking signatures and a vote count, emphasized that the court was unconvinced the presented questions warranted their review.

However, Justice Elizabeth Welch dissented, emphasizing that the sole legal matter within the state supreme court’s purview was whether lower courts erred in determining the Michigan secretary of state lacked authority to exclude Trump from the primary ballot. Welch concurred with the Court of Appeals, asserting that Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson must include Trump on the ballot, irrespective of potential disqualification under the Constitution’s “insurrection clause.”

Welch clarified that, under Michigan law, the secretary of state is not obligated to verify the eligibility of presidential primary candidates. Furthermore, once a candidate’s name is submitted by a political party in compliance with primary election statutes, the secretary lacks the legal authority to remove an ineligible candidate. This decision contrasts with a recent ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court, which found Trump disqualified under the “insurrection clause” but delayed the enforcement of keeping his name off the state’s primary ballot pending an appeal until January 4.

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